Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sullivan Street Potato Pizza

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I've been itching to bake this pizza for a few weeks. The color photograph in the book looks wonderful. But it's pizza dough, lots of potatoes, onion, rosemary, and olive oil. No cheese, no tomatoes. Just potatoes and bread. The kind of thing that would make your mother say, disapprovingly, "You don't need two starches." Or maybe you'd say that to yourself, especially if you just got off a low-carb diet. But the picture looks so good. I figured it would either be spectacularly good or dull. It was actually both.
The bites at the edge of the pizza, where the crust was golden brown, and the potatoes were soft yet crisp, and there were little bits of onion and salt--those bites were fabulous. The middle of the pizza, which stuck to the pan, and where the potatoes were neither soft nor crisp, were mediocre.
When I looked at the picture in Artisan Baking again, I saw that the pizza was on a pizza stone. Well, no wonder. My problems with pizza in the past have always been because I was too cowardly to bake the pizza dough directly on a hot stone. After getting encouraging comments from readers, I finally dared to do it, and it did make an amazing difference. If only I had remembered this learning experience, I might have used it.
I made only half the recipe, and it was more than enough for two people. If you make the full recipe, you'll have a lot of pizza.
The dough is one of those miracle doughs, like the focaccia recipe in The Bread Bible. It's very, very wet, and it doesn't look like it's ever going to do anything. Then, after a good 20 minutes, it starts to come together, and suddenly it's a real dough.

This is a great pizza to make on a weekend because you can mix it up in the late morning, and have the afternoon free before you have to come back and start working on it again.
After the dough has risen and rested, it's pretty easy to stretch out onto a pizza pan (although I've just told you that I shouldn't have used the pan). It does need to rest for about 10 minutes (or longer) or it will pretend that it's moving toward the edge of the pan and then it will just slither back into place.

I squeezed the potatoes, and put them in a colander, and dried them with towels. They still didn't get as dry as I would have liked, but the dough was ready and I was hungry, so I just plunked them on top of the dough, and brushed them with more olive oil. (I didn't use all the potatoes, by the way, and I don't think you need 4 pounds--I would use only about half the recommended amount. I'd also use more than the recommended amount of rosemary).

The pizza bakes for nearly 40 minutes, which is really quite pleasant because it smells amazingly good when it's cooking. When I took it out of the oven, I thought that I had achieved pizza nirvana. It was the best looking crust I've ever achieved.

The picture in the cookbook is of a large rectangular pizza baked in a half-sheet pan. Because I cut the recipe in half, I used a round pizza pan.
I think the deck is stacked against a pizza maker using a home kitchen. You just can't get a hot enough oven. If I were to do this again, I think what I'd do is oil a big piece of parchment paper and shape the pizza on parchment. Then I'd transfer the parchment to a pizza peel and slide it right onto a preheated baking stone. I think then you'd get all the delicious flavor and crunchiness without the sticking-to-the-pan problem.
If anyone has made this pizza, I'd love to hear how it went for you.

Sullivan Street Potato Pizza
--from Artisan Baking, by Maggie Glezer

For two 13 x 9-inch pans, or one half-sheet pan

3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons (130 grams) unbleached bread flour
3/4 cup plus 2 T. (130 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/4 cups (285 grams) lukewarm water
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Extra-virgin olive oil.

Mix the flours and yeast in a mixing bowl. Using the paddle attachment, add water on low speed until the batter comes together. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 20-25 minutes until it cleans the bowl and comes together. (If it hasn't started to come together in 20 minutes, add a few pinches more flour). The dough should still be quite weg. Add sugar and salt and mix for another 2-3 minutes.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise about 4 hours.

Coat the baking pan or pans with olive oil. Pour the dough directly into the pan. With hands coated with olive oil, press the dough into a thin layer. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes, and then finish pressing it into the whole pan. It will be quite thin. Cover and let rise for another hour.

Meanwhile, slice 7 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled (about 4 pounds) into thin slices. Toss them with salt and let them exude moisture for about 15 minutes. Squeeze them dry in a colander to release more of their liquid. Toss them with a thinly sliced onion and about 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary.

About 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 C) and put one rack on the oven's top shelf. If using two pans, put another rack on the lower third.

After the dough is proofed, spread on the potato topping. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with more salt. Bake until the potatoes are brown at the edges and easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 40 minutes.


Anonymous said...

Hi Marie,

I've made this pizza just 3 weeks ago for the 3rd time. I did the full recipe and made it in a half sheet pan. I don't have any problem with sticking because I spread a generous amount of olive oil on the pan before spreading the dough out. All that oil really helps to make the dough crispy, too!

I bake on the top shelf directly under the coils (I have an electric oven with coils on both top and bottom).

After the recommended amount of baking time, I slide the whole pizza right out of the pan (effortlessly because of all the oil) onto the baking stone on the bottom rack and cook until crispy. It's perfect everytime.


Astrid said...

It looks delicious. I felt driven to comment because I used to go almost daily to Sullivan Street Bakery when I lived in New York, and potato pizza was my favorite. The idea is indeed strange, but the result unbelievably good. It sounds like you're nearly there.

breadbasketcase said...

Thanks for the hints. I put what I considered to be a generous amount of olive oil on the pan, but I guess it wasn't generous enough. What happens when the very oily bottom of the pizza meets the baking stone? It seems like there would be a lot of smoke.

Thanks for the comment. Isn't the Sullivan Street Bakery the one that's famous for coming up with the no-knead bread idea?

Melinda said...

I first had a potato and rosemary pizza in Naples 2 years ago. It was really good and it was from a greasy spoon type looking place. I was surprised how good it was.

I think the direct on the baking stone should give you even better results. Your fancy pants oven can do it, if any oven can!
Your pizza looks so tempting. I'd break my no bread and cake ban for a slice.

breadbasketcase said...

I didn't think it was an authentic pizza--I figured it was an American rendition of a focaccia-like bread topped with a mixture of Italian and non-Italian ingredients. (I never think of potatoes as being Italian, but I guess they are). I'm so glad I made something that you got in a Neapolitan greasy spoon! It makes me feel so worldly.
Don't break your ban until you're all better. Then you can go back to Naples and eat the real thing.

Bunny said...

I've never seen a pizza like this, oh I bet it was good!!

breadbasketcase said...

I'd love to go to NYC and eat a piece of the real thing to compare it to what I made.

Anonymous said...

Boy, this looks great!

The temperature of 425 is lower than sometimes recommended for Pizza, but 500 would brown up the crust before the potatoes are done. A conundrum there.

My oven can get up to the 500 degrees, but not all can.

Do the directions say to take out of the pizza pan and onto a stone after the potatoes are done? That may be the clincher.

Rod: Can your oven run both upper and lower coils simultaneously? Or do you switch between baking and broiling settings?


breadbasketcase said...

You're right--it doesn't bake like a regular pizza. It's a lower temp and a longer time (to accommodate the potatoes, I suppose).
No, the directions don't say to put it on the stone, but that might work, although since mine was sticking to the pan, that wouldn't have helped.
I can see that this calls for more experimentation.

Doughadear said...

Your pizza looks amazing, crust and topping. I've made potato pizza several times (my son often requests it) and it either turns out really really well or not as well as I'd like. My recipe calls for Yukon Gold potatoes using the same method of soaking in salt which I think helps to soften them (I have also found that you usually don't need as many potatoes as the recipe calls for) but sometimes they just don't cook through and I haven't figured out the best temperature to achieve this consistently. However when it turns out well, and I think the quality of the potato helps here, it really is a nice treat.
What I did have success with yesterday being Canada Day was grilled pizza right on the barbeque. It was great!

breadbasketcase said...

Potato pizza must not be such a rarity as I thought! Is the dough in your recipe a very wet dough, or is it more like regular pizza dough? This is a recipe for Cook's Illustrated to try--making it dozens of different ways to see what yields the perfect potato pizza.
I've also never tried pizza directly on the grill--congratulations on yours!

Doughadear said...

I used to use a dough by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street bakery that was featured years ago on Martha Stewart. It was for Pizza Bianca which is dress with only olive oil, rosemary and salt. I used to make this recipe all the time and if I recall correctly it was a wet dough. There was also a Potato Pizza featured from Jim Lahey which is a bit different from the one you posted. It appears that the recipe has since changed from the one featured on Martha Stewart. The recipe I have calls for 3 cups of flour and 1-3/4 cups of water. The revised recipe calls for only 1 cup of cold water. You can check it out by keying in Pizza Bianca by Jim Lahey.
My favourite recipe for pizza dough is Basic Bread Dough for Fougasse that was featured on Martha Stewart years ago.

1 tsp. active dry yeast (instant also works fine)
1 tsp. sugar
1-1/3 cups lukewarm water (315 gr.)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (26 gr.)
1 tsp. fine sea salt
3-1/2 cups flour (546 gr. Bread or 447gr. all-purpose)

In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with a dough-hook attachment, combine yeast, sugar, and water, and stir to blend. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in oil and salt.
Add flour, a little at a time, mixing at the lowest speed until most of the flour has been absorbed, and the dough forms a ball. Continue to mix at the lowest speed until soft and satiny but still firm, 4 to 5 minutes. Add additional flour, if necessary, to keep the dough from sticking. The dough will be quite soft.
Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator. Let the dough rise in the refrigerator until doubled or tripled in bulk, 8 to 12 hours. The dough can be kept for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. Simply punch down the dough as it doubles or triples.

I usually omit the refrigerator stage and let is rise at room temperature until doubled.
This dough also makes great baguettes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marie,

By the time the pizza was done baking in the pan, it had absorbed enough of the oil so as not to create any smoking when baking directly on the stone. It's definitely worth trying again. Good luck.


Hi Paul,

I've never really checked to see if the top coils come on without the broil setting on. I've never even thought of it. I'll check it out next time. :)


breadbasketcase said...

You are a fountain of information--thank you!

That's good to know. I sometimes get frustrated by my approach to baking, which is to constantly try new things. I admire the people who persevere enough to perfect recipes.

pinknest said...

i LOVE this pizza. I have never made it on my own, and yours looks spectacular. I do eat it a lot from the sullivan st bakery, though!! love love love it!!! bravo!

breadbasketcase said...

I'm very jealous of people who can say things like "I get it a lot from the Sullivan Street Bakery." Guess I'm just jealous of people who live in NYC.

Anonymous said...

I've had this pizza many times. The other types of pizzas served at Sullivan Bakery are exceptional too. (They are uniformly served in large rectangular slices.) But why add cheese? I feel it detracts from the pizza's beautiful simplicity and stunning taste. Thanks for sharing.

breadbasketcase said...

There was no cheese on the pizza.

Amélie said...

I finally got around to making this pizza! I used half the amount of potatoes and cooked it on a baking stone (with parchment paper). It came out perfectly!

breadbasketcase said...

Your pizza looks delicious--I love how brown and crunchy-looking your crust got.

Anonymous said...

I used to work at Sullivan Street, and while it was a horrible place to work, I do miss this delicious pizza! Definitely will make it at home soon.

Anonymous said...

I've tried making the patate pizze from Jim Lahey's book 3 times now and the dough has never risen enough in the 2-hour time frame suggested in the book and here. I BARELY get enough dough for 1 pan let alone two pizza's. Any suggestions?